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Knudson wins St. Croix Sheriff primary

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday night with 42 of 42 county precincts reporting, unofficial election results showed incumbent Scott Knudson won the Republican primary for St. Croix County Sheriff with 4,571 votes (87.38 percent) beating out challenger Steven Mael.

Mael received 657 votes.

Knudson, a town of Somerset resident, has served one year as sheriff after being appointed to the position by Gov. Scott Walker in July of 2017. He previously worked with the department for 21 years, serving most recently as chief deputy.

Knudson said in a Q&A before the primary that public safety would be his top priority, and he was running to continue to have an impact on social issues like mental health and drug abuse.

During his”first year of service, he named working with Sen. Patty Schachtner and other community partners on such issues as teen suicide and drug addiction as highlights.

“I continue to be proud of the people that I serve with,” Knudson said Tuesday night. “We really do a good job of getting our dedicated officers out there and I really look forward to continuing that. One of the things that I’ve always hoped for and strived for are partnerships. I think we have some good partners that we’re increasing.”

He listed stakeholders in the community as key to working together to solve tough issues like suicide and addiction and admitted he is appreciative of the community’s support.

“I am absolutely humbled by the amount of votes and those who got out to vote,” Knudson said. “I am really pleased and that gives me really some support that we’re moving in the right direction.”

As for looking to the November election, is said the primary is just one step in that process.

“I’m going to keep doing what I have done, and that’s similar to what I have done previously,” Knudson said. “I’m surrounded by good people. When this agency succeeds, it’s a benefit to the county. There won’t be a big shift in philosophy. It’s a big group effort.

St. Joseph township resident Mael is a retired Wisconsin state police officer, serving most of his career with the Capitol Police Department. He thanked St. Croix County citizens in his concession statement.

“I am grateful for those that showed up to vote,” Mael said. “Congratulations to Sheriff Knudson. He has the experience to do the job. I hope that if Scott Knudson wins the general election that he performs his job with diligence, honor, selflessness and respect for all community members.”

Mael admitted in his statement that soon after deciding to run for election, he was diagnosed with cancer.

“Just a few weeks ago I was told I have early stage 3 kidney disease,” Mael said. “I am not a quitter and don’t live my life waiting to die. My hope was to guide the Sheriff’s Office into a new era of compassion, respect, thoughtfulness, diligence, honor, relevance, and community support.“

Mael said in his Q&A that his own experiences with the sheriff’s office prompted him to run for the position, and his focus would be on running an efficient, kind and thoughtful office.

Knudson will now face Constitution Party candidate Marion Shaw, a resident of the town of Hudson, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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